How to keep garden soil healthy: 6 do’s and don’ts
Sometimes it’s nice just to have someone say, “Do this” or “Don’t do that.” Black and white instructions provide a clear path to success, even when it comes to gardening. So if you’re wondering how to keep garden soil healthy, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve laid out a few simple do’s and don’ts that are guaranteed to keep your garden soil healthy and your plants growing strong for years to come.
Don’t work your soil to death.
If you’re new to gardening and wondering how to keep garden soil healthy, it’s easy to assume that gardeners do this by tending to their plants all day — watering, tilling, mixing, and amending till the sun goes down. But that’s not entirely true. In fact, that type of behavior can do more harm than good, especially if we’re talking about tilling the soil. Whatever you do, don’t overwork the soil. Your soil doesn’t need to look completely smooth, and it certainly doesn’t need to feel like sand. It should be textured and filled with plenty of good-for-your-plants material and organic matter.
Do use a soil treatment like GardenMAX.
Finding the right products for your garden’s soil can be challenging. This is because different areas of your soil might require different nutrients at different times — as will the particular plants in your garden. In order to limit confusion and potential problems, an all-in-one soil treatment like GardenMAX should be used. This Green As It Gets product works to correct and improve your soil, doing a handful of things simultaneously (like adding nutrients and balancing the pH level). It reduces the guesswork involved in gardening and makes life easier on you as the gardener.
Don’t mess with wet soil.
“If you do work wet soil, the result will be that soil particles will compact tightly, leaving less room for water and air to penetrate. This makes it more difficult for plant roots to absorb water, nutrients, and air. Compressed soil forms clumps, which become very hard once they dry out and which are hard to break up. This creates an environment that leads to slower drainage.” — Daily Herald
It’s true. Working with wet soil is a big gardening no-no, and you’ll hear this advice from plenty of gardening pros. If you get impatient and dig into a wet bed, you could damage your soil and make life much harder on yourself. Be careful and give your soil time to dry out a bit.
Do use a landscape consultant.
When it comes to growing a beautiful garden and promoting healthy garden soil, where your plants and how your plants are placed matter a great deal. All plants require certain conditions to thrive — part shade versus full sun, heavy water versus very little water, more alkaline environments versus more acidic environments. Because of this, many people find it worth their while to partner with a landscape consultant. This professional can help you strategically design, prep, and create your garden — including great tips on how to get and maintain healthy garden soil. You can learn more about the benefits of a landscape consultant from our friends over at White Forest Nursery.
Don’t jump to conclusions.
It’s important to carefully observe your plants before you make any rash decisions (for example, any decisions that lead to more water, more fertilizer, or more sprays). Many nutrient deficiencies can appear very similar at first — discoloration, wilting, etc. — but if you look closer, you can typically uncover the real problem. This frequently happens with overwatering. Overwatering can almost make it appear as if the plants are underwatered (making you jump for the hose). Upon closer observation, however, you’ll notice just how wet the soil already is.
Do walk around your garden soil.
Walking on your garden bed can compact the soil, causing it to be harder and more challenging to work with. On top of this, it can make it more difficult for your plants to receive all the nutrients they need to thrive. Make sure to grow your garden in a spot that’s out of the way and free of foot traffic.
There’s a lot more to healthy garden soil than this, but these tips (along with GardenMAX) are guaranteed to help you out. If you want to keep learning, check out our blog. There are more gardening do’s and don’ts where these came from.